Tom Daley: Gay Fathers Like Him Subjected to More 'Judgment'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday October 16, 2021
Originally published on October 15, 2021

Tom Daley and his son Robby Ray
Tom Daley and his son Robby Ray  (Source:Tom Daley/Instagram)

It's not all sunshine and smiles for this literal daddy: Openly gay Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley reflects in his new memoir "Coming Up for Air" on how being a gay father involves additional legal and financial burdens, and attracts heightened "judgment" and unwanted parenting advice, NBC News reported.

"Daley says strangers often make him and his husband, Academy Award-winning American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, feel like they are doing a 'substandard job' as parents because they are gay," the article says.

Daley and Black became parents via surrogacy three years ago. But strangers sometimes seem to think they are more in need of unsolicited advice than a heterosexual couple would be, he reveals in the memoir; NBC News pointed out how, in one anecdote, Daley recalled a stranger offering to change their son's diaper.

"As gay parents and gay dads, I sometimes feel like we are held to a higher level of judgment," the world-class diving champ says in the book, which was released Oct. 14, NBC News detailed. "When you are out in public, it feels like all eyes are on you to do the right thing or parent in the right way."

Daley added: "People see two dads and there is a feeling that we don't know what we are doing or that it won't come easily to us, in the way that it does to women."

Moreover, thanks to UK laws regarding surrogacy — Daley is British — the couple had to endure an "expensive and challenging" process to finalize the procedure of becoming parents, because "surrogates and their spouses are considered the legal parents of surrogate-born children at birth" no matter where the genetic components of the child were sourced from.

"In the same month he said 'Dada' for the first time, we were called to court for a hearing to begin the process to legally become his parents," Daley wrote of securing his and Black's status as Robbie Ray's legal parents. "It made us feel uncomfortable and not 'good enough'; like we were an anomaly that the system couldn't deal with."

Black documented the duo's journey to parenthood — along with its "personal, scientific, fiscal and legal tolls" — in a podcast, NBC News said.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.